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US Navy Divers in World War 2

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by geahanse, Jul 17, 2014.

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  1. geahanse

    geahanse New Member

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    What rating would a US Navy diver have been during World War 2? I tried researching it and learned about the distinguished service marking but what rating would they have been? Seaman First Class or a petty officer?
     
  2. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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  3. geahanse

    geahanse New Member

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    But what about during World War 2. There wasn't a Diver rating during World War 2 but there were divers
     
  4. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Yes there were: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq100-1.htm

    They would have been "ND" their rating would have been ND3 ND2 ND1

    There was also a specialty "Diver" classification that would have covered scuba qualified sailors in EOD and UDT units.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I thought that the ND rating was not officially,established until 2006.

    IIRC, Diver qualification, was an "extra" - much the same as qualifying in submarines...There was no "submarine" rating, but, you had your rating, and you were submarine qualified, same as with divers. They were a gunner's mate, shipfitter, etc., but they were dive qualified.
     
  6. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Just a quick & dirty searching of the BuPers magazine issues from Jan 1942 thru Dec 1945 for the word “diver”

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, July 1942, page 67, in List of Bureau of Naval Personnel Circular Letters Beginning April 14, 1942, the last entry:

    94-42 Numbers of Master Divers, Diver 1c, and Divers 2c, authorized for fiscal year 1943.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, August 1942, page 42:

    APPROVED LEGISLATION OF INTEREST TO THE NAVY
    (A) Public Law 628 - 77th Congress, approved June 27, 1942.
    By the Provisions of this Act, officers and enlisted men employed as divers in actual salvage or repair operations in depths of over 90 feet, or in depths of less than 90 feet when the officer-in-charge of the salvage or repair operation finds that extraordinary hazardous conditions exist, receive the sum of $5.00 per hour for each hour or fraction thereof so employed. The retainer pay for enlisted divers is not changed by the provisions of this Act.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, November 1942, page 10, in an article about SeaBees:

    The enlisted personnel are being recruited from experienced construction workers between the ages of 17 and 50. In each construction company there are 60 unskilled men (laborers) enlisted in the ratings of first and second class seamen. The balance of each construction company includes a wide variety of trades and occupations including machinists, carpenters, electricians, shovel operators, crane operators, pipe fitters, steel workers, painters, truck drivers, welders, riggers, divers, etc. The headquarters companies include clerks, draftsmen, surveyors, photographers, storekeepers, cooks, pharmacists, chauffeurs, etc. No special ratings have been established for these construction battalions. The men are being enlisted in the various naval ratings which most nearly conform to the trades required for construction and under which they qualify. No previous naval experience is required but applicants, other than the unskilled men, must all show satisfactory evidence that they are skilled in their particular trade. All applicants for enlistment are interviewed by an officer of the Civil Engineer Corps, of whom three or more are stationed in each of the Principal recruiting districts for this special duty. Therefore, a man is not enrolled by the recruiting office until an examination of his experience clearly proves that he is qualified in his trade. Qualified men including foremen and superintendents are enrolled in Class V-6 of the Naval Reserve with acting appointments in ratings from third class petty officers to chief petty officer and receive the regular pay and allowances for these ratings.

    Same issue, page 29, in an article “Elimination of Paper Work”:

    Changed monthly report of divers to quarterly.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, July 1943, page 38, in a sidebar “Enlisted Distinguishing Marks” part of a long and detailed article “Ranks and Rates of the United States Navy” which started on page 29:

    MASTER DIVER-Men qualified as master divers wear the diving helmet with breast plate with the letter “M” on the breast midway between the shoulder and elbow of the left sleeve for men of the seaman branch and on the right sleeve for others. Divers, first class, wear the mark without the “M.”

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, December 1943, page 58, in a listing of awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Medal:

    To two enlisted men for their heroic endurance in the refloating of a U. S. warship: Jack F. Martin, CSF, endurance during the refloating of a USNR; and Kenneth F. Tinsley, M1c, USNR; both from Los Angeles, Calif. Despite gales, sub-freezing temperatures, snow and the threat of air attack, Martin and Tinsley made repeated underwater dives, when other divers were unable to stand the extreme cold. In one day the men remained submerged for periods totaling nine hours at a water temperature of 36" F.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, April 1944, page 58, In a listing of awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Medal (gold star in lieu of second award):

    Carpenter Jack F. Martin, USNR, Los Angeles, Calif.: As a volunteer diver during salvage work at Pearl Harbor, he made dives totaling more than 100 hours under water despite extremely hazardous conditions inside wrecked hulls. He contributed largely to the success of the salvage work.

    Carpenter William S. Thomas, USN, Fort Kent, Me.: During salvage operations at Pearl Harbor he made
    numerous dives totaling more than 100 hours under water despite extremely hazardous conditions inside submerged hulls. He contributed largely to the success of the operations.

    Same issue, same page, listing of awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, note the variety of rates for the enlisted divers:

    Lt. Comdr. Howard E. Haynes, USN, San Diego, Calif. : As officer-in-charge of diving operations incident to salvage at Pearl Harbor, he skillfully directed extensive and hazardous I programs often involving dangerous personal experimental investigations. His tireless efforts in procuring and developing diving equipment contributed in large measure to the success of the operations.

    Lieut. James S. Clarkson, USN, Long Beach, Calif. (posthumously) : As a volunteer diver engaged in Pearl Harbor salvage operations, he unhesitatingly made many hazardous dives in essential underwater work and by his tireless efforts contributed greatly to the success of the salvage operations.

    Ens. Robert M. Hendon, USN, Indianola, Miss.: As leading diver and later officer supervisor of salvage activities at Pearl Harbor, he skillfully supervised assignments of enlisted men and personally participated in dives totaling more than 200 hours under water despite hazardous conditions within submerged hulls.

    Chief Gunner, Glen Frazier, USN, Marines, N. C.; Alfred Eugene Daniel CGM, USN, Murphysboro, Ill.; Peter C. Devries, CMM, USN, Lodi, N. J.; Christian R. Peters, CM, USNR, Los Angeles, Calif.; Morris C. Bestul CSF, USN, Rosholt, Wis.; Alfred J. Katzenstein, CEM, USN, Los Angeles, Calif.; Harold F. Hendricks, CSF, USN, Liberty, S. C.; Delbert L. West, BM1c, USN, Tryon, Neb.; Nelson H. Dover. GM1c. USN. Colfax. Ill. : Louis J. Pacitti, GM1c, USN, Tayior Springs, Ill.; John J. Roche Jr., GM1c, USN, Bellerose. N. Y.: Glenn L. Palmauist, CM1c, USN, Lindsborg, Kans.; Walter Zakulec, SF1c, USN, Burgettstown, Pa.; Thomas Henry Cary, SF1c, USN, Bellingham, Wash. ; Pryor S. Bennett, CM1c, USN, Negaunee, Mich.; Carl W. Dubois, SF1c, USN, Middletown, N. Y.; Kenneth F. Tinsley, MS1c, USNR, Los Angeles, Calif.; Harry A. Sayles, SF1c, USN, Fruita, Col.; James R. Mahan, MM1c, USNR, Flushing, N. Y.; Hugh D. Lewis, CM1c, USN, Ochlochnee, Ga.; James W. Green, GM2c, USN, Birmingham, Mich., and Frank R. Bush, SF2c, USNR, Seattle, Wash.:
    They contributed materially to the success of Pearl Harbor salvage operations by volunteering to make numerous dives tota1ing more than 100 hours underwater each, despite the extremely hazardous conditions within submerged hulls.

    Carpenter, Earl S. Blackburn, USN, Washington, N. C.: As a volunteer engaged in diving operations during Pearl Harbor salvage, he made numerous dives totaling more than 100 hours underwater despite extremely hazardous conditions within submerged hulls.

    Boatswain, Ralph E. Fowler, USN, Los Angeles, Calif. : A volunteer diver engaged in Pearl Harbor salvage work, he unhesitatingly made numerous dives totaling more than 100 hours under water despite extremely hazardous conditions within submerged hulls.

    Gunner, William G. Knoepfel, USN, Everett, Wash.: Despite toxic concentrations of poisonous gases, fuel oil and debris in compartments of vessels salvaged at Pearl Harbor, he participated in extensive and dangerous underwater work and was responsible for recovery of valuable materials.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, August 1944 In letters to the editor on page 61:

    DIVER TRAINING
    SIR: What authority can my personnel officer use to transfer me to diver training under the salvage unit program? When inducted in January 1944, I requested the Seabees or Ship Repair Unit but was assigned to general duty. At my classification interview at Great Lakes, I was advised to strike for a diver’s rate. However, I was transferred to this air station and at present am considered an aviation metalsmith striker. Before entering the service, I was a welder for seven years.- N.A.S.. SZC, USNR.

    No authority, such as a, directive, is involved. You may submit a request to BuPers through official channels, asking transfer to salvage duty. However, in view of your AM training and the fact you have had no considerable salvage experience, your request probably would be disapproved.- ED.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, September 1944, starting on page 26 and running to page 29 with illustrations, an article, “Navy Divers Clear Out Captured Harbors”. Note the statements on ratings and insignia which I bolded:

    - Work Ranges From Destroying Vessels To Salvaging Them -
    Clambering over strange ships in total darkness-blasting, searching, cutting, welding many feet below the surface in uncharted harbors-the Navy’s deep-sea and salvage divers are successfully combatting the underwater “scorched earth” strategy of the enemy.

    Retreating enemy forces, especially on the European battlefronts, have made every effort to block harbors and channels with scuttled craft that could not run the gantlet of Allied naval attack. They also destroy cranes and buildings and pile other debris in the water in an effort to halt or delay ship movements.

    Navy salvage officers frequently accompany the first waves of an invasion force. It is their job to survey ship damage in the harbors and channels and along the waterfronts, so that clearing operations may promptly get underway. When success or failure of a military campaign hangs upon rapid delivery of men, heavy guns and other equipment, this clearing job is of the utmost importance.

    Navy divers sometimes cut or blast the sunken hulks to pieces to get them out of the way; or the scuttled ships may be dragged to deeper water and sunk so they will not become a hazard to navigation. If still usable, and salvage is not too difficult, they are raised and put into service.

    On the Normandy beachheads Navy combat salvage units, including divers, worked under fire to keep traffic channels clear of damaged craft and make on-the-spot repairs.

    Divers are sent down under fire only in case of extreme urgency. The CO of one salvage unit in France always asked for volunteers when an unusually hazardous job had to be done. “The only trouble,” he said, “was that every one of my men volunteered every time.”

    One diver had a close call while trying to get a strap under the stern of a sunken LCI(L) off Cherbourg peninsula. As he was digging in the sand the vessel suddenly rolled over on her side and fouled his lines.

    Though he was immediately hauled up, the fouled lines would let only his head come above the surface.

    The tide was rushing in, and the water was slowly creeping up over the “anchored” diver. Men on the salvage ship quickly secured lines about the diver, cut his own fouled air lines, hauled him aboard and opened the front window of his diving helmet so that he could get air. He struggled out of his suit unharmed.

    Diving is trying enough when a diver has only the usual dangers of the deep, such as fouled lines and floating debris, to worry about. When he has mines, live torpedoes, depth charges and exploding ammunition ships to contend with, his work becomes one of the most hazardous of wartime assignments. And working under water is eight times slower than on the surface.

    The Germans, on several occasions, have placed booby traps aboard scuttled vessels in Italian harbors, but without great success. This constant threat forces Navy divers to be doubly cautious, however, and further slows their work.

    Then, too, a diver frequently finds himself at the bottom of the sea as enemy planes bomb or strafe a harbor, or long range guns lob their shells from nearby hills at Allied shipping. At such times a diver cannot hurry his ascent, because of the danger of caisson disease or the “bends,” and becomes one of the last to reach shelter.

    Lieut. Cyril R. Wrew, (CEC) USNR, of Waukegan, Ill., commanding a Seabee diving unit in the South Pacific, recalls one such incident when a diver was sent down to retrieve a disbursing officer’s safe:
    “After a two-hour search, the safe was located in 132 feet of water at the bottom of a coral slope. The diver secured a line to the safe and we started to raise him slowly. Just then the air raid alarm sounded, and every ship in the harbor-except ours moved out. It took some 40 minutes to raise that diver and get the diving boat to shore. We really sweated it out, with only the guns on shore to protect us against possible enemy attack."

    William N. Ritchie Jr., MoMM1c, USNR, of Melrose, Mass., wrestled with two live torpedoes while working on the bottom of an Italian harbor. Protruding at a dangerous 45-degree angle from the tubes of a sunken German E-boat, the torpedoes had just been rigged for raising when Ritchie noticed oddly acting bubbles. Fearing that the torpedoes might go off any minute, he immediately cut the surface lines and "swallowed hard." The air bubbles (possibly from a type of torpedo propelled by compressed air) started up, then stopped. Ritchie breathed a sigh of relief and went on to complete his work.

    Paul E. Landry, CM1c, USNR, of Fall River, Mass., worked on salvaging the Lafayette (the former French liner Normandie) in New York, then went abroad. One day while working on the sea bottom in an Italian harbor he was tossed around like a cork when an ammunition ship several hundred yards away exploded, but was uninjured.

    At one captured Italian seaport, Paul F. McDonough, M1c, USNR, of Dover, N. H., was working on a sunken German tug. Topside, Lt. (jg) Walter J. Diamondstone, USNR, of Pittsburgh, Pa., was directing operations. Suddenly he saw a ship bearing down on the diving barge. Attempts to signal the ship away were futile. Keeping the excitement out of his voice, Lieutenant Diamondstone instructed McDonough to blow himself to the surface. Just as McDonough reached the surface, the ship crashed into the diving barge. Its bow clipped McDonough on the foot and tossed him high, but safely, upon the barge. Except for a shaking-up, he was uninjured. His 18-pound diving shoes had borne the impact of the ship's bow!

    Diving in the South Pacific holds many exciting moments. Salvaging a Japanese plane shot down practically in enemy territory was one of the assignments of a Seabee unit.

    The Seabees requisitioned a reconditioned Japanese landing barge, sailed to the scene--40 miles from a Japanese seaplane base -and, by dark, had raised the slightly damaged plane. Rather than run the risk of returning to their base through American air and surface patrols at night, they anchored among nearby islands. Early the next morning the salvage crew brought back the plane.

    Prior to the Munda invasion, Seabee divers were called upon to ready landing craft needed for the operation. Since there was no drydock available, it was necessary to carry out all repair work under water. The work included plugging and patching shrapnel and bullet holes, repairing damaged hulls, removing lines from fouled propellers, replacing shaft couplings and changing propellers and bearings.

    The bulk of the work was replacing propellers. Since speed was essential, the versatile Seabee divers placed dynamite alongside the shafts, packed sand and mud around the charges and neatly blasted the damaged propellers off. The first job of this type took two and a half days. After a little experience the divers cut the time to approximately five hours.

    Some divers say that most of their troublesome experiences have come from sea urchins and other marine animals, like the deadly and inquisitive barracuda. Others declare they have trouble with blue and orange haired sea nymphs! Physiological changes among divers are the greatest between 175 and 225 feet; they swear it is possible for a man to see almost anything at that depth.

    There are also many occupational ills which divers must constantly guard against. Caisson disease or the “bends,” most common, has proved fatal in a number of cases. Caisson disease is caused by an excess of gas bubbles in the blood and tissues and is the result of a diver coming to the surface too rapidly or leaving a recompression chamber too soon. The disease rarely occurs unless the pressure has exceeded 20 pounds (45 feet of sea water) but may occur after exposure to 45 feet or less if the time on the bottom is very great or if the diver has been working exceedingly hard. The symptoms include itching and burning sensations and a mottled skin rash, severe pains in the bones, muscles and joints, deafness, vertigo (staggers), vomiting and even partial or complete unconsciousness.

    If the diver is immediately placed in a recompression chamber (a heavy, thick-walled steel cylinder into which air is pumped by compressors and underwater pressure conditions simulated) or lowered back into the water to the approximate depth at which he was working, then decompressed according to time schedules and depth stops set forth in the Navy’s standard decompression tables, no serious after effects are generally felt.

    “Blowing up,” another danger in diving, is caused by the admission of too much air into the diving suit, by too strong a pull by the tenders or by the drag of the tide, making the diver lose his hold on the descending line and rise rapidly toward the surface. The greatest danger when this happens is the possibility of the diver’s cutting off his air supply-in order to halt the upward motion-and falling back into deeper water, with a resulting “squeeze.”

    Divers must constantly guard against falling or dropping a considerable distance (as over a ledge on the ocean floor) without immediately adjusting the pressure within their suits. If the air is not adjusted as the diver falls, outside pressure becomes greater than that inside, resulting in a “squeeze.” Cases are on record where the entire body of a diver has been forced into the small space of his helmet as the result of a sudden “squeeze.”

    Long study and countless experiments by the Navy Department have eliminated many of the causes and fears of diving accidents. Records do not clearly show the origin of diving in the U. S. Navy. However, a definite program of development was actively begun in 1912 when extensive tests were conducted in diving tanks ashore, and later on the USS Walke (a torpedo boat, later converted to a destroyer and scrapped in 1935) in Long Island Sound. These tests led to the eventual establishment of the Navy’s diving schools and many improvements in diving technique.

    In the continuous search for new ways and means of enabling divers to descend to greater depths with safety, experiments with helium-oxygen mixtures as a substitute for normal air were carried out as far back as 1921.

    By varying the oxygen content with helium, greater depths are obtained without divers suffering oxygen poisoning. The mixture also keeps divers more alert while working under pressure and enables them to work harder and longer. Breathing of helium with a proper amount of oxygen is harmless.

    Helium conducts heat more rapidly than normal air, however; and because heat from a diver’s body is quickly transferred to the air within the suit, where it is cooled, a special electrically heated undersuit has been developed. It has also been necessary to provide a recirculating system to recover and conserve the helium.

    Deep-sea diving is done in Navy standard diving suits, which come in three sizes: 1 (small), 2 (medium) and 3 (large). The suits are made of heavy rubber, covered inside and outside with canvas. They are worn over heavy underwear and woolen socks. A cushion protects the shoulders of the diver from the weight of the helmet (about 57 pounds). The entire suit, including shoes (18 pounds each) and a diving belt (90 pounds), weighs almost 190 pounds.

    In depths not exceeding 36 feet, shallow-water gear is used for searching, inspecting, clearing lines from screws and making minor repairs. A dozen or more different types of masks and suits are available for this work. One of the better masks, many shallow-water divers say, is a converted Mark III gas mask.

    Navy diving calls for courageous, highly trained men. All enlisted men engaged in this work are volunteers. If they find they do not like diving, they are free to ask for other duty. Few do, however; for, once in diving work, the men find it too exciting to leave.

    The Navy’s diving schools are open to men of all rates, but those from the artificer branch and some from the seaman branch are preferred. They make better divers because of their knowledge of ships and tools. All must pass rigid physical exams.

    At the Deep-sea Diving School at the Washington, D. C., Navy Yard, students take a course lasting four months, finally qualifying to dive to depths of 320 feet on helium-oxygen and 300 feet on pure air. The course is followed by a month’s experience operating in the open sea. Graduates are qualified to join the fleet as divers second class or divers first class. (Master divers, generally CPOs, must have considerable diving experience and meet certain other requirements.) Salvage divers are graduates of the Naval Training School (Salvage), Pier 88, New York, where they undergo an intensive training course of several months in practical and theoretical diving, culminating in experience in actual coastal salvage operations. Other fleet schools turn out divers second class only.

    Qualified divers may be identified by their distinguishing mark, worn on the opposite sleeve from their rating insignia: a diving helmet and breastplate, with an “M” on the breastplate for master diver, an “S” for salvage diver, the figure “1” for diver first class or the figure “2” for diver second class. Since no rating has been established for divers, qualified men continue in the same rates and wear the same specialty marks as they did when they entered training.

    Divers first class are limited to depths not exceeding 300 feet on air, except in an emergency; divers salvage and divers second class may go only to 150 feet. Master divers are qualified for all types of diving, as well as supervision and instruction.

    Divers, in partial compensation for the many dangers they face, draw extra pay, including $5 an hour or each fraction of an hour spent on hazardous salvage work. Divers second class also draw $10 extra a month; divers salvage, $12; divers first class, $15 plus up to $15 for “footage” (five cents a foot for dives over 120 feet); master divers, $20 plus up to $10 “footage.”

    The biggest Navy salvage project was at Pearl Harbor after the Japanese raid on 7 Dec. 1941. Diving operations there were all of a salvage nature, being carried out in approximately 60 feet of water. The biggest single salvage job was raising the 83,400-gross-ton Lafayette in New York harbor, which provided training for hundreds of Navy divers. Both salvage operations were, in a large measure, accomplished by civilian firms under Navy supervision.

    Most notable of the deep-sea salvage operations by the Navy was the floating of the USS Squalus, which went down off Portsmouth, N. H., 23 May 1939, while undergoing trials. The sub sank in 240 feet of water. Twenty-six of the men in the after compartments were immediately drowned, but 33 in the control room and forward battery and torpedo rooms remained alive. A rescue chamber was put in operation and a downhaul cable attached to the escape hatch by a Navy diver. Seven men were rescued on the first trip up. Eventually all 33 were rescued despite the extreme depth, and the submarine was salvaged.

    During the rescue and salvage operations divers made 640 dives without loss of life or serious injury. Three hundred and two were made in depths exceeding 200 feet.

    The record for open-sea diving was set after the submarine 0-9 went down off Portsmouth on 20 June 1941 in 440 feet of water. All hands were lost. Salvage was not attempted, divers going down only to determine that the vessel had been crushed by the tremendous pressure-196 pounds per square inch. A diver who spent 30 minutes at that depth would have to spend approximately 230 minutes decompressing to prevent bends. At the Deep-sea Diving School in Washington, divers in pressure tanks have been subjected to pressure equivalent to a depth of 500 feet. They spent nearly 260 minutes decompressing. Pressure at 500 feet is 223 pounds per square inch, normal sea-level pressure 14.7 pounds per square inch.

    Theoretically the maximum depth for diving is where water and fat become compressible at about 3,600 feet. Diving operations at depths much greater than 300 feet are exceedingly difficult, however, and the average diving depth now is probably 60 feet. What are the Navy’s divers going to do after the war?

    Keep right on diving, most of them say. The pay is good, and there’s plenty of excitement. If they don’t dive for the Navy, there’ll be plenty of jobs for them in civilian life, building dams and bridges and underwater tunnels-and clearing harbors and channels of war debris.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, October 1944, on page 7 in an article on BuShips:

    One of the recent outstanding salvage jobs done by BuShips was the refloating of the SS El Estero, a fully loaded munitions ship scuttled and completely submerged off Bayonne, N. J., to avoid possibility of explosion resulting from fire aboard. Members of the Coast Guard boarded the burning ship at its pier and took it out to sea, where it was scuttled, averting a major maritime disaster. BuShips divers then went to work and refloated the El Estero, salvaging thousands of dollars worth of munitions.

    and

    Considerable research in the development of new salvage and diving equipment has been made by BuShips. The heavy standard deep-sea diving dress has remained essentially unchanged. However, to meet special requirements, a lightweight suit and a variety of diving masks have been developed, as well as a secret self-contained diving outfit which allows a diver underwater to swim, walk or operate unattended and invisible from the surface. Great strides have been made in underwater cutting and welding methods.

    Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin, April 1945, in an article on ARDs, page 18:

    On one occasion during those trying months the ARD 2 cradled three small craft in her basin at once. The largest single ship she handled was the Delphinus, a 4 300-ton cargo vessel which had grounded. For 17 days the Delphinus had ripped her bottom on a reef, and thus required extensive surveying and trimming under water prior to drydocking. This is the most dangerous phase of an ARD crew’s work. The jagged edges of buckled pIates and holes torn in the hull of a vessel must be trimmed off before it can be floated into anything operating on so narrow a margin of depth as an ARD. The diver must do his work in oil-blackened water where it often is difficult for him to see his hand in front of his face. The sharp, jagged edges of protruding steel are a constant threat to his life lines, the cutting of which means almost certain death.

    All Hands (formerly the Bureau of Naval Personnel Bulletin), October, 1945 in the Bulletin Board page in an article announcing elimination of certain rates:

    - Drop 19 SR Ratings; Men To Shift to Other SR or General Service Ratings -
    Nineteen ship-repair categories have been abolished and men now holding these ratings and skill designations will change to general-service ratings or one of the remaining ship-repair ratings, as announced in BuPers Circ. Ltr. 254-45 (NDB, 31 Aug, 45-1084). Future limits on the authorized enlisted personnel strength of the Navy will not permit the retention of many of the highly specialized rating groups in the Navy’s present enlisted rating structure. A majority of ship-repair personnel, it is believed, will be able to qualify for general-service ratings which have a wider scope of assigned duties.
    Accordingly the following ship-repair categories have been abolished:
    Carpenter’s Mate (SR) (Carpenter)
    Carpenter’s Mate (SR) (Caulker-Boat)
    Carpenter’s Mate (SR) (Cement worker)
    Carpenter’s Mate (SR) (Shipwright)
    Gunner’s Mate (SR) (Powderman)
    Machinist’s Mate (SR) (Engine operator)
    Machinist‘s Mate (SR) (Inside machinist)
    Machinist’s Mate (SR) (Instrument maker)
    Metalsmith (SR) (Forger)
    Molder (SR) (Cupola tender)
    Molder (SR) (Foundryman)
    Molder (SR) (Molder)
    Patternmaker (SR) (Patternmaker)
    Radio technician (SR) (Radio engineer)
    Shipfltter (SR) (Diver)
    Shipfitter (SR) (Chipper and caulker)
    Shipfltter (SR) Reamer)
    Shipfitter (SR) (Riveter)
    Shipfitter (SR) (Steelworker)

    Hmmm, might have missed a couple . . . had to weed through a bunch of SB2C references.

    As mentioned in other threads, the BuPers bulletins can come in handy and are worth the effort to download.

    Rich
     
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  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Edward C. Raymer, who wrote "Descent into darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941: a Navy diver's memoir", was first a Shipfitter rating, before advancing to the Metalsmith rating. After making Metalsmith First Class, he applied for and graduated from second-class diving course.
     
  8. tgrrls

    tgrrls New Member

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    Hi forum members! I am working with a team to try to help find a family member of "Jesse," a Master Diver buried at sea Nov 24 1943.

    I am having a heck of a time searching Fold3 because I can't seem to figure out how to search for a Master Diver. From what I see above, the MD designation was made on top of the rating that the person came in on. So I am limited to searching every record, and not sure I'm able to identify the designation.

    I see in some of the posts here that divers kept the rate they came in on, but then were able to add the MD in some way, but I can't figure out how.

    Is there anyone on this board who would be willing to lend some expertise? I also have not found much in BuPers, but I'm also not sure I'm searching that correctly.

    All help appreciated,
    Tiffany
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Has anyone on the team gone to the NARA and read through the logs of the USS Argonne?

    I would think that the deck logs would have the name you are looking for, and at least a minimum of detail concerning the accident that claimed his life.

    The ship and the date would be your starting point.

    That would be my first and best guess on where to find your answer.


    Some background on Tiffany's search
    http://www.cbs19.tv/news/a-wwii-veterans-daughter-needs-help-finding-a-master-divers-family/308378064
     
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  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Deck logs for USN vessels are now held at the College Park, MD, National Archives. That would be the first point of contact for this inquiry.
     
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  11. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Fold3 has the Operational Remarks (War Diary) of the USS Argonne, but it contains no information related to the loss of the diver. The ship was moored in Tillotson Cove, Russell Islands.
     
  12. tgrrls

    tgrrls New Member

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    Thanks to all who replied! I have not been able to physically go to NARA. What I have been able to reconstruct, though, is that I don't think they were on the Argonne at the time. There is no indication on the War Diaries for Argonne in Nov 1943 that communicate a death. I do believe based on other collateral that they were actually at Midway Island, but I can't seem to figure out what ships were assigned there, or what the assigned name of the Navy base was there on Fold3. Any help appreciated - please also see my blog, which has a link to Ancestry where I have documented what I have been able to find: https://findingjesseblog.wordpress.com/?order=asc
     
  13. Erik Gilliam

    Erik Gilliam New Member

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    I'm looking for information on Seabees who were trained as divers or Seabees units that utilized divers, any theater, during WW 2.

    I'm New Funny Guy here, apologies if this question is not in the right place.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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  15. Erik Gilliam

    Erik Gilliam New Member

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    I have been working with the National Seabee Divers Association for some time. To date I have the names of only two Seabees who were divers in WW2. They are Tom Ansbro and Dale Vinette. I only met Tom very briefly and was not able to follow up with him before he passed. I did manage to visit with Dale and learned quite a bit about his diving experiences. Dale had been a commercial diver before the war and was part of NCB 301 during the war. He complied his diving experiences, commercial and military, in a self published book, Deep Water Man. I have a copy of his book and a CD copy of the NCB 301 cruise book. However, I'm sure there is more information "out there". My search continues.
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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